Shanghai Symphony Orchestra brings Eastern and Western masters to the same stage
Published: Oct 15, 2021 01:21 AM
The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is awarded as Artist of the Year at the Beijing International Music Festival.

The Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is awarded as Artist of the Year at the Beijing International Music Festival.

Chinese conductor Yang Yang of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra joined with baritone Yuan Chenye, soprano Ying Huang, violinist Liu Ming and cellist Lin Zhu to bring to the audience The Songs of Life concert in Beijing on Thursday. During the concert, the works of late German-Austrian romantic composer Gustav Mahler and Chinese composer Ding Shande were staged on the same night.

To commemorate the 110th anniversary of Mahler's death and the 110th birthday of Ding, the Beijing International Music Festival specially planned and launched the theme concert to present the works of both composers on the same night to commemorate the continuation and inheritance of Eastern and Western classical music as well as the life of previous masters who took the first steps in exploring classical music in China.

Des Knaben Wunderhorn is Mahler's most classic vocal suite. At the beginning of the 19th century, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano jointly compiled a collection of 700 German folk poems in Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which Mahler read in 1887 and loved.

Yuan's five choices at this concert were Revelge, Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht, Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, Rheinlegendchen and Der Tamboursg'sell. Yuan's magnetic baritone voice was an excellent display of the poetic yet cold artistic features of Mahler's songs.

Two songs by Ding formed a dialogue with Mahler's works. My Love Gives Me a Sunflower is quiet in beauty and affection, while the popular Poems of Western Yunnan originated from a burst of inspiration in his later years.

In addition, representative instrumental works by the two composers were also staged at the concert. Adagietto from Mahler Symphony No.5 is a "love letter in music" written by the composer to his wife Alma. Double Concerto in C major for Violin, Cello and Orchestra by Ding Shande is an important work in the development of Chinese chamber music, and also a representative masterpiece of his chamber music.